LOVE SERMON: Bishop Michael Bruce Curry addresses 600 guests at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
By GREGORY KATZ and DAVID RISING
WINDSOR, England -Nothing captured the transatlantic nature of Saturday’s royal wedding as much as the guest preacher whose sermon brought African American fire and flair to a very English church service.
The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, the first black leader of the Episcopal Church in the United States, was chosen personally by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to address their 600 wedding guests.
The bishop’s passionate sermon on the theme of love, punctuated with quotes from the bible, Martin Luther King Jr and African American spirituals, was a contrast to the more solemn and muted Anglican style the royal family is used to.
Many observers were surprised and delighted. BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine tweeted: “The preacher is doing 50 in a 30 zone and it’s brilliant.”
Supermodel Naomi Campbell hit Caps Lock and tweeted: “BISHOP MICHAEL CURRY GIVING ME LIFE.”
Quoting civil rights King on the “redemptive power of love,” Curry told the bride and groom “it’s not just for, and about, a young couple who we rejoice with, it’s more than that.”
Curry, who like Markle’s mother has African ancestors who were slaves in the U.S., said that even during their time of bondage, love helped those in captivity persevere.
“When love is the way, we actually treat each other, well, like we are actual family,” he said in a sermon that touched on poverty, inequality and the healing power of love.
“When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all and we are brothers and sisters, children of God and brothers and sisters,” he said. “That’s a new heaven, a new earth a new world, a new human family.”
Harry and Markle exchanged a quick glance at one another at one point as Curry drifted from his prepared remarks and ad libbed while the queen looked on stoically. Camilla and Kate– the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge -traded sidelong glances.
Queen Elizabeth II, who as monarch holds the title of Supreme Governor of the Church of England, did not show any sign of discomfort and looked as stoic as she had through the entire ceremony.
There may have been a touch of royal relief when Curry wrapped up with “We gotta get y’all married now.”
The crowds waiting outside for a glimpse of the royal couple loved it. Cheers greeted Curry as he walked uphill from the chapel along the procession route after the service. One man shouted “well done” prompting a smile and “God bless you” from the bishop.
Former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, an atheist, tweeted: “Rev Michael Curry could almost make me a believer.”
The Episcopal Church is an offshoot of the Church of England in the United States and has been the spiritual home of many of the American founding fathers and U.S. presidents.
Even though its support for gay marriage has recently caused friction with the greater Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said ahead of the ceremony that he was “thrilled” Curry would be speaking there, calling him a “stunning preacher.”